'Bring Kleenex': Tragically Hip fan reflects on first shows of summer tour

Saskatoon's Trent Weppler has been in the crowd for over 30 Tragically Hip performances. He reflects on the legendary band's first two stops on their summer Man Machine Poem tour.

Sask. man has seen over 30 Tragically Hip performances, including first 2 stops on summer tour

Frontman of the Tragically Hip, Gord Downie, leads the band through a concert in Vancouver, Sunday, July, 24, 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

For Troy Weppler, a Tragically Hip fan who has seen the band live over 30 times, the weekend was filled with mixed emotions.

Weppler, who is from Saskatoon, was in the audience for the band's first two performances since frontman Gord Downie publicly revealed his terminal brain cancer diagnoses in May.

Weppler said he didn't know what to expect when the Hip took the stage Friday night in Victoria, B.C. on the first stop of their Man Machine Poem Tour.

"Victoria was the very first show, and [during] the first five or six songs, I was thinking, 'Oh boy, let's see how he does here,'" Weppler said during an interview with CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.

"I think he was just feeling it out."

Weppler said the crowd stood throughout the entire show. Emotions ran high throughout the night. 

"Just seeing them walk on stage in Victoria and seeing the crowd's reaction, knowing that this might be the last time they're going to get to see them perform."

Weppler saw the band for his 32nd time Saturday night in Vancouver when he attended the band's second date on the tour.
Tragically Hip lead singer Gord Downie performs with band members Paul Langlois, Gord Sinclair, Johnny Fay and Rob Baker at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre to kick off the band's latest Man Machine Poem tour in light of Downie's brain cancer diagnosis, in Victoria (Kevin Light/Reuters)

"He nailed it, by the time they hit Vancouver. I was like, 'Oh yeah, it's just old Gordie.' It was great."

The weekend was bittersweet for Weppler, but he said he's gained memories that will last a lifetime,

"Just interacting with fans, the crowds, the response, how loud it was," said Weppler. "Gord just crushing it both nights, those will be the memories I have of him, just always the showman."

Weppler also had some words of wisdom for anyone planning on attending a show on the tour.

"Be ready, bring Kleenex, buckle up, it's awesome."